Dolly Spencer


Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2005


  Dolly Spencer

Dolly Spencer

Lifelong Alaskan and longtime Homer resident Mrs. Dolly Spencer died Wednesday, April 6, 2005, at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer. She was 75.

Funeral services will be at noon Sunday, April 10, at Glacierview Baptist Church, 960 East End Road in Homer. Visitation will be held one hour prior to services at the church. Burial will follow at the Hickerson Cemetery on Diamond Ridge Road in Homer. A reception will follow the burial at the church. Pastor Rick Wise will officiate.

Mrs. Spencer was born March 30, 1930, in Kotzebue. She was raised in the Cape Krusenstern area, moving from camp to camp, gathering food to store for winter. One of her main chores was making sure the sled dogs had water. She got her first pair of shoes when she was 16.

Her young adult years were busy with her children, cooking at a mining camp, waitressing and sewing mukluks and parkas for the children. She met her husband of 46 years, James Spencer, in Nome. They were married in Teller on Oct. 10, 1958. They lived in Wales, Fairbanks and Glennallen and moved to Homer on New Years Day, 1970.

They traveled the Alaska Highway many times as a family. Summers were full of fishing, clamming, boating and camping. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer bought snow machines in 1980 and spent Saturdays at Caribou Lake ice fishing. Mrs. Spencer recommitted her life to the Lord in 1967.

Mrs. Spencer started making Eskimo dolls in the 1960s and began using traditional furs and sinew thread on her dolls after moving to Homer. In 1984 she went to the Smithsonian with other American Native Artists to show her dolls. In 1996 Mrs. Spencer was recognized as a Master Traditional Artist by the National Heritage Fellowship.

She gave skin sewing classed to adults and children across the state and has given many doll shows. Recently she was tutoring her granddaughter, Jessica, in the doll-making art.

"Dolly always gave God the glory for her talent and often was able to share her testimony. Her favorite verse was Philippians 4:13, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.' Everyone Dolly ever met became her friend. She had a warm beautiful smile that she shared freely. She leaves a wonderful legacy to her relatives, friends and family everywhere," her family wrote.

Mrs. Spencer was preceded in death by her parents, York and Grace Mendenhall; brothers, Collins, Ray, Petty and William Mendenhall; sisters, Dora Mulch and Mary Ahnangnatoguk; brother in-law, David Spencer; and sisters-in-law, Virginia Kendrick and Norma Zile.

She is survived by her husband, James A. Spencer; children, Perry Mendenhall, Terry Ann Plummer, Linda Kline, Dean Killingrock, Virginia Wise, Victor Spencer and James Spencer III; grandchildren, Dan, Robin, Leslie, Frank, Eli Sigvan, Lisa, Roy, Linda, Roberta, Evelene, Jessica, Jacob, Janyce, Josiah and Matthew; brother in-law, Allen Ahnangnatoguk; sisters in-law, Mary Ann Mendenhall and Myrna Mendenhall; 25 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Arrangements were made by the Homer Funeral Home.

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